I grew up not far from Hampton Court Palace, to the west of London. Its large and beautiful gardens include a famous maze made of hedges, where the challenge is to find your way to the center and out again as fast as possible. However, many people get completely lost, and though they can see the center and the exit through the hedges, they just can’t find the way to either of them. They keep hitting dead ends. Fortunately there’s a platform outside from which someone can see the whole maze and guide people out if they’re still stuck at closing time!
I was thinking about that maze recently when praying about problems fraught with complexity. There’s the complexity of circumstances that seem to be beyond our control. There’s the complexity of human relationships, which are often hopelessly tangled. There are complex financial situations that appear to have no solution. Sometimes the body seems complex, especially if a medical diagnosis has been given. And what’s hitting the headlines relentlessly is the nightmare of terrorism and its ensuing chaos, as well as the destructive language of hatred and division that splits communities and countries down the middle. There seems to be no simple way to respond to any of these things.
By contrast, prayer can be simple. Prayer always leads us to God—and when prayer begins and ends with God, our thought grows nearer to God, and our view becomes clearer. Things that once looked complicated and murky become simpler and easier to grasp when we see them from a spiritual perspective.